Producers Grove Entertainment (Beth Williams), Frank Marshall and The Araca Group announced today that Diana: The Musical is coming back to Broadway this Fall. Pending Broadway’s anticipated return with government approval, and following health and safety guidelines, previews are scheduled to resume at the Longacre Theatre (220 West 48th Street) on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. Opening night will be Thursday, December 16, 2021. Tickets for the Broadway engagement are now on sale through November 20, 2022 on telecharge.com.
Diana: The Musical will premiere as a special presentation on Netflix on Friday, October 1, 2021, two months ahead of its Broadway debut.
In a joint statement, the Diana producers said, “The chance to share our show, first with Netflix’s global audience, and then welcoming a live audience back on Broadway, is something we’ve all been dreaming about for more than a year. We could not be more thrilled to finally share both the film and the Broadway musical with the world.”
The Special Netflix Presentation of Diana, directed by Christopher Ashley, was filmed in 2020 and features the original Broadway cast, led by Jeanna de Waal as “Diana”, Roe Hartrampf as “Prince Charles”, Erin Davie as “Camilla Parker Bowles”, and two-time Tony Award® winner Judy Kaye as “Queen Elizabeth.”
Diana celebrates the life of Princess Diana and the light of her legacy that continues to shine across the world. The musical has book and lyrics by Tony winner Joe DiPietroand music and lyrics by Tony Award winner David Bryan. Direction is by Tony winner Christopher Ashley, choreography by Olivier Award winner Kelly Devine and musical supervision and arrangements by Olivier winner Ian Eisendrath.
The complete cast of Diana includes Zach Adkins, Tessa Alves, Ashley Andrews, Austen Danielle Bohmer, Holly Ann Butler, Stephen Carrasco, Bruce Dow, Richard Gatta, Lauren E.J. Hamilton, Emma Hearn, Shaye B. Hopkins, André Jordan, Gareth Keegan, Nathan Lucrezio, Tomás Matos, Chris Medlin, Laura Stracko, and Bethany Ann Tesarck.
Diana tells the story of one of the most beloved women of modern times. Engaged to a prince she barely knows,19-year-old Diana Spencer is thrust onto the world stage and, overnight, becomes the most famous woman in the world. As she struggles to navigate her way within the rigid structure of the royal family, Princess Diana finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage, eventually finding her voice by devoting herself to those in need. Forced to endure a media spotlight brighter than the world has ever known, Princess Diana defies all expectations to emerge as her own woman and create a legacy that will endure forever.
Musical Star Just Isn’t Enough! The York Theatre Company, in association with Tom D’Angora, Michael D’Angora and Tim Guinee, present an All-Singing, All-Talking, All-Virtual special benefit presentation of the Off-Broadway hit The Musicals of Musicals (The Musical!). With music by Eric Rockwell, lyrics by Joanne Bogart, and book by Joanne Bogart and Eric Rockwell, this special presentation is directed by Tom D’Angora and Michael D’Angora, with music direction and arrangements by Deniz Cordell and original director Pamela Hunt serving as artistic supervisor. This event will raise funds to help The York recover and rebuild after devastating damage from a water main break on January 4, 2021.
This all-star event will feature appearances by Tony Award winners Betty Buckley, Matthew Broderick, André De Shields, Jane Krakowski, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Mandy Patinkin, Chita Rivera, and Lillias White; Oscar and Tony Award winner Mercedes Ruehl; Drama Desk Award winners Lewis Black, Richard Kind, Jose Llana, and Isaac Mizrahi; Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita Emmy Award winner Debra Messing; Tony Award nominees Andrea McArdle, Brad Oscar, and Ethan Slater; Emmy Award nominees Giancarlo Esposito, Martha Plimpton, and Randy Rainbow; and Lucille Lortel Award winner Soara-Joye Ross. Also featuring Christy Altomare, Colleen Ballinger, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, Kelvin Moon Loh, Telly Leung, Christine Pedi, Jelani Remy, Jackie Sanders, Michael West, and Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
After a Lexington Avenue water main break in early January caused a massive flood in their space, The York Theatre Company has been forced to temporarily relocate for the first time in nearly 30 years while their home undergoes major remediation. The York is spread among various storage facilities across the tri-state area, and their plight caught the attention of producing trio Tom D’Angora, Michael D’Angora, and Tim Guinee, who had recently stepped in to raise funds to save the West Bank Cafe and Birdland Jazz Club. The trio wanted to help and, donating their time, have taken on The York as their next project.
The Musicals of Musicals (The Musical!) premieres on Sunday evening, April 18, 2021 at 7:00PM and will be available to view on demand through April 21, 2021 at www.yorktheatre.org. Free stream at www.yorktheatre.org Donations may be made by visiting the GoFundMe link at gf.me/u/znnvib. This event is presented through The Theatre Authority, Inc.
Playwright Keenan Scott II, whose new play Thoughts of a Colored Man will have its Broadway premiere at the Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street) in the upcoming season, has been selected as a TED2021 Fellow, joining a class of 20 remarkable individuals who are collaborating across disciplines to spark positive change around the world.
Scott said, “Growing up in Queens, New York, I never thought of my life being a part of a global community of artists, inventors, and scientists. I am humbled and honored to be a playwright among these giants. With being a Fellow, I pray I can extend the reach of my work through imparting empathy in my audience for years to come.”
Thoughts of a Colored Man had its critically acclaimed world premiere at Syracuse Stage under the artistic direction of Robert Hupp in fall of 2019 with a subsequent run later that year at Baltimore Center Stage (Stephanie Ybarra, Artistic Director). The eagerly anticipated new production will mark Scott’s Broadway debut as a playwright.
Over the course of a single day in the pulsing heart of Brooklyn, the hopes, sorrows, fears, and joys of seven men reverberate far beyond the barbershops and basketball courts of their community. Vulnerable and vibrant, raw and alive — these are the Thoughts of a Color Man.
A powerful theatrical testament by Scott, Thoughts of a Color Man weaves spoken word, slam poetry, and rhythm into a mosaic of the inner lives of Black men and heralds the arrival of an essential new voice to the American theater.
“We’re incredibly proud to introduce the newest cohort of TED Fellows,” said program director Shoham Arad, “The TED Fellows Program has never felt more relevant and more necessary. And for me personally, I’ve never felt more grateful to be part of an organization that’s specifically dedicated to finding the people doing the good work in the world and supporting them in their mission.”
Founded in 2009, the TED Fellows program now has 512 Fellows from 100 countries. In its 12-year history, the TED Fellows program has built a powerful, far-reaching network made up of scientists, doctors, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, journalists and interdisciplinary collaborators.
The TED Fellows Program recognizes people at work on world-changing ideas, offering them tools to amplify the power of their vision. Each year, a new group of fellows from around the world, and from every discipline, are welcomed into this incredible international community of remarkable thinkers and doers who have shown unusual accomplishment, exceptional courage, and the potential to create positive change in their respective fields.
A complete list of the new TED2021 Fellows and TED Senior Fellows can be found at ted.com/fellows
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical: Original Cast Recording is available on vinyl today Friday, March 26. Featuring Tony Award-nominee Adrienne Warren and the original London cast, the album was released for download, streaming and CD formats in 2019. The LP includes liner notes, synopsis, and production and studio photography. Tina – The Tina Turner Musical is currently nominated for twelve 2021 Tony Awards, including “Best Musical.” The album was recorded in February 2019 at Angel Studios andRAK Studios, produced by the show’s Music Supervisor Nicholas Skilbeck and Kurt Deutsch, and co-produced by Tom Kelly. To order the new vinyl edition of the original cast album, please visit: ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/tinavinyl
Tina Turner, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical officially opened on Broadway on Thursday, November 7, 2019. For more information about Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, visit TinaTheMusical.com.
Broadway’s Harmony Sounds Great But Lacks Emotive Power
I don’t think I knew, going in, that Harmony, the new musical from book/lyric writer, Bruce Sussman (Ted Tally’s Coming Attractions) and music writer Barry Manilow now on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, is based on a true story. But as it sings itself out to us, it starts by taking us back to the Carnegie Hall stage of 1933, but then shifts even further back to Berlin, Germany 1927, giving us a clearer picture of what might be coming at us. Panning out in tones not so subtle and utilizing the narrative structure of a standard memory play, a narrator, played by the endearing Chip Zien (Broadway’s original Baker in Sondheim/Lapine’s Into the Woods), stands forward, center stage, ushering us into the past and this story. His name, he tells us, is Rabbi, and he once was, back in the day, a member of a comedic singing group in Berlin made up of six young men who could harmonize and craft a joke like few others could. The group, ‘The Comedian Harmonists‘, was an internationally famous, all-male German close harmony ensemble that performed between 1928 and 1934. As one of the most successful musical groups in Europe before World War II, they steadfastly rose to fame and fortune as the Nazis came to power in Germany, and within that historic framework, the dye has been cast and the stage set.
Zien is most definitely an affable figure, one guaranteed to take us through this complicated and emotional story with expert ease, and we feel safe in his testimony. The elder Rabbi pulls us in, ushering us back to the first days of the group, and joining in with the fun whenever he can. It’s a tender beginning, and as directed and choreographed with energy by Warren Carlyle (Broadway’s After Midnight), we are forever cognizant of where this all will be heading. Zien quickly lets us into the framework, informing us that he is the only surviving member of this long-forgotten troop of singers, and he’s here to tell us their story so they won’t be forgotten. Noting the historical landscape, we can’t help but know where we are being delivered to, and it’s not all that shocking where we will end up.
With a group name that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, they come together with a joyful clarity, delivering the cool notes of a well-cast harmonic group. The crew of six, including a very good Matthew Mucha (CFRT’s Memphis)-an understudy for the absent Danny Kornfeld (Barrington’s Fiddler on the Roof) who usually plays the parallel part of Rabbi, younger and sweetly entwined with the other five; Sean Bell (HBO’s “Succession”) as Bobby; Zal Owen (Broadway’s The Band’s Visit) as Harry; Eric Peters (National tour: Motown the Musical) as Erich; Blake Roman (Paramount+’s “Blue Bloods”) as Chopin; and Steven Telsey (National tour: The Book of Mormon) as Lesh; come together neatly. They all fit into nicely categorized stereotypes that sing, make scene jokes, and travel the world entertaining their audiences with an ever-increasing amount of success, all under the watchful, but pseudo-approving eyes of the Nazis.
The six singers, all delicious and delightful to watch, deliver the goods solidly, even with songs that aren’t exactly memorable. But they sure look and sound good (and sometimes even great). No wonder they are seen as good public relations personas to the world, especially with their diversity, but as an audience member who knows what’s coming, it doesn’t sit so easily in the pit of our stomachs. The Nazis, as embodied by Andrew O’Shanick (“Pitch Perfect“) as Standartenführer – who claims to be a fan – don’t even seem to mind that a number of the group members, but not all, are in fact Jewish. This comes as a surprise, as most Jews and their equivalents were being robbed of their livelihood, their money, and their passports. But not these boys. Even when they push the boundaries of their PR protections outside of Germany, nothing happens, at least not right away.
The drama of the musical’s story is played out with conviction on a straightforward uncomplicated set by scenic designer Beowulf Boritt (Broadway’s New York, New York), with formula costuming by Linda Cho (Broadway’s Take Me Out) and Ricky Lurie (Gallery Players’ Godspell), inventive lighting by Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer (Broadway’s Gary), and a solid sound design by Dan Moses Schreier (Roundabout’s Trouble In Mind). It charges forward, but oddly, doesn’t hold us emotionally tight in its arms, running too long, and feeling soft-focused and sometimes generic in tone and form.
Can’t Wait For Boop To Come To Broadway
At the CIBC Theatre in Chicago, BOOP! The Musical, the new Broadway-bound musical extravaganza is making its debut . Actress Jasmine Amy Rogers is currently bringing her to life in Chicago, as she proves in this exciting song “Where I Wanna Be”.
The show is created by Tony Award®–winning director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, La Cage aux Folles, Hairspray) who brings the Queen of the Animated Screen to the theater with celebrated multiple-time Grammy®-winning composer David Foster (“I Have Nothing,” “After the Love Is Gone,” “The Prayer”), Tony-nominated lyricist Susan Birkenhead (Working, Jelly’s Last Jam), and Tony-winning bookwriter Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone, The Prom).
I am obsessed with the songs already. First was “Something To Shout About” and now “Where I Wanna Be”.
For almost a century, Betty Boop has won hearts and inspired fans around the world with her trademark looks, voice, and style. Now, in BOOP!, Betty’s dream of an ordinary day off from the super-celebrity in her black-and-white world leads to an extraordinary adventure of color, music, and love in New York City—one that reminds her and the world, “You are capable of amazing things.” Boop-oop-a-doop!
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Michael Urie and Ethan Slater
With the holidays, my caricature of Spamalot is taking time, so I decided to highlight the two performers who for me stood out.
I have drawn Michael Urie several times, but I love this picture with him and my drawing of him in Buyer and Seller. Urie as Sir Robin, shows a new side of him that is truly funny.
Ethan Slater should have won a Tony for Sponge Bob Square Pants. My guess is he will be nominated again for his multiple roles in Spamalot.
Up next my caricature of Spamalot
Spamalot Gives Them The Olde Razzle Dazzle
Somehow I missed the original Monty Python’s Spamalot, based on the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” that played 18 years ago. So seeing this production at the St. James Theatre was fresh for me.
This show which runs over 2 1/2 hours is jammed packed with frat boy jokes, an uber talented cast and lots of razzle dazzle by director/ choreographer Josh Rhodes.
Satirizing the Arthurian legend, written by Eric Idle with music and lyrics by Idle and John Du Prez. The plot follows King Arthur (James Monroe Iglehart), as he is searching the kingdom for his Knights of the Round Table with his trusty sidekick Patsy (Christopher Fitzgerald). This is much like Don Quixote and Sancho, without those glorious songs. Instead we get “Look On The Bright Side Of Life.”
Arthur recruits Sir Bedevere the Wise (Jimmy Smagula), Sir Lancelot the handsome and incredibly violent (Taran Killam), Sir Galahad the Pure (Nik Walker) and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave (Michael Urie). Arthur leads the knights to Camelot, but, after a Las Vegas Style review, he changes his mind, deeming it “a silly,” and they go off to find the Holy Grail.
In the meantime the Lady of the Lake (Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer) is rather peeved that her role has been cut. Kritzer tears down the house and the scenery with her vocal pyrotechnics and her attitude. She almost steals the show.
Ethan Slater plays the historian, not dead Fred, a baby, a nun, a mine and a minstrel, as well as wimpy Prince Herbert, and a demonic killer bunny. To each of these roles, he is like a chameleon and morphs into a comedic clown. He is truly funny.
Michael Urie, as Sir Robin, is hilarious and has the politically incorrect number “You Won’t Succeed On Broadway,” (if you don’t have any Jews). I am seriously surprised it has not been pulled considering parodies seem to be no longer appropriate.
Paul Tate dePoo III’s set is serviceable, but the projections are fabulous.
Many will like this show and if I had watched their performance on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I too would be buying tickets.
Monty Python’s Spamalot: St. James Theatre, 246 W 44th Street.
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Park Terrace Hotel, Hotel Chocolat and Ofreh
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